Report: Brady expected to play Saturday night vs. Texans, but not Gronk

Report: Brady expected to play Saturday night vs. Texans, but not Gronk

Tom Brady and other Patriots starters are expected to make their preseason debuts Saturday in the second preseason game vs. the Texans in Houston, but Rob Gronkowski won't play, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports.

Gronkowski, recovering from back surgery performed late last season, hasn't played in a preseason game since 2012. 

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Brady and new acquisitions Brandin Cooks at wide receiver and Mike Gillislee at running back, along with wide receiver Julian Edelman and other starters, did not play in the Patriots' preseason opener against the Jaguars last week in Foxboro. The Patriots and Texans have been conducting joint practices at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia and Howe reports the plan all week has been to have the starters participate in the game Saturday night.

Of course, Bill Belichick reserves the right to change those plans. 

The Pats will return to the site of their last victory, NRG Stadium in Houston, where New England won Super Bowl 51 over the Falcons in February, to play the Texans. 

Brady shows competitive attitude in Wednesday's joint practice

Brady shows competitive attitude in Wednesday's joint practice

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia – Tom Brady’s legendary competitive streak was on display late in Wednesday’s joint practice with the Texans. Executing an end of the half drill, Brady hurried his team to the line of scrimmage and got the defense he wanted. Perhaps over-amped, he misfired on a mid-range out pattern near the Patriots sideline, throwing the ball just past the extended hands of Rob Gronkowski. Immediately, Brady’s hands went to his helmet, his shoulders slumped. 

“I mean we've got to make that play,” said Brady after the session. “It’s got to be a better throw. We've just got to come up with it. Sometimes you get the exact look you want versus a certain play and it’s not a productive play. Those are the ones that you kick yourself on. Then there’s some plays where they’ve got the right defense called versus what you have called and sometimes an incompletion – that’s what it is. Plays where it really should be a completion and a big gain, those are the ones you’ve got to come up with."

That Brady reacted like he did, on a mid-August day some three weeks from the season opener is just another reason why he is who is he. It also punctuated by far and away the most intense pair of days this training camp has seen, and the emotional Brady didn’t hold back, emoting at nearly every turn, directing those feelings to everyone: teammates, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Texan defenders and even members of the Houston coaching staff. 

“Yeah, I'm always pretty frustrated throughout the day in practices,” he said. “You’re just trying to create some urgency. I ask guys to dig a little deeper. It goes like that. Sometimes things don’t go great in the first quarter of games, sometimes they don’t go great in the first half, sometimes they don’t go great for the first three quarters, but you’ve got to keep grinding. You’ve got to keep digging deeper. A lot of times football is a lot about momentum. Things don’t go well early and then you find a little rhythm, start making some plays, scoring some points and then you can rattle off 28 points. That’s football.”

One doesn’t have to look too far back to find the Pats reeling off 28 off unanswered points. Super Bowl 51 ring a bell? In order to even get to that game, Brady and the Pats had to overcome the Texans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, a closer than it appeared 18-point victory that saw Houston’s defense do something that few ever manage: they picked off Brady twice and held him to under 50% passing. Though Brady says last season is over and dead, that memory lingers.

“I think what you realize with this team is they're not going to make it easy on you,” he noted. “There is no easy play, there is no easy throw, there is no easy run. They’ve got good players, they’ve got a good scheme, so it’s really challenging and has forced us to raise our game.”

And if the Pats didn’t grasp that concept on their own this week, Brady made sure he brought it to their attention early and often.

Brady: Training at 40 'easier now for me than it's ever been'

Brady: Training at 40 'easier now for me than it's ever been'

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia -- For Tom Brady, author of a soon-to-be-released book on "sustained peak performance," it was the softball of all softballs. 

Is it harder for him to train at 40 years old, he was asked after Wednesday's joint practice with the Texans? Does it take him longer to recover?

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"No. I think it’s a lot easier now for me than it’s ever been," he said. "I feel like my routine is better than it’s ever been. When you’re younger you don’t know what to do. After 17 years, going into my 18th year, I know what to do.

"I know how to prepare. I'm never sore. I could practice every day. I could practice twice a day if they’d let us do that, but that’s not the way it goes anymore. It’s just fun being out here competing. That’s what us football players are here for. It’s football season. That’s what football players do – we go out and compete."

Simon and Schuster announced last month that the book will be called "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance." The plan is for it to be published in September, and it will be available in hardcover, e-book, and audio editions. 

"Oversized, heavily illustrated, revealing yet deeply practical, The TB12 Method is an 'athlete's bible' that reveals Brady's methods and approaches to sustained peak performance for people of all ages," Simon and Schuster said in a release. "In it, Brady tells the backstory that led to the revolutionary approach to his training and exercise regimen, one that decreases the risk of injury while extending peak performance."

The book plans to focus on the importance of pliability, something Brady has discussed more and more in recent years, as well as "strength training, hydration, nutrition, supplementation, cognitive fitness, recovery, and other lifestyle choices" to help readers improve performance as well as their quality of life. 

When he makes comments like he did on Wednesday, signaling that life is as easy as ever, it can't hurt sales. 

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